As the dust begins to settle from this summer’s Apple Watch frenzy, many smartwatch enthusiasts seem to be left wanting after experimenting with what was probably the most hyped smartwatches of all time. While the ad campaigns were fantastic (as we’ve come to expect from Apple) and incited near-riot numbers of people lined up outside Apple stores to get their hands on one, the reviews from the general population since the initial excitement has died down has been lackluster to say the least. Well folks, it’s a good thing we’ve got like, a hundred other smartwatch options to choose from, right? And the newest offering from cult favorite Pebble, the Time Steel, elegantly balances a clean, simple design with just the right amount of performance and functionality.
The Pebble Time, a next-gen color smartwatch that was an instant crowd favorite for its surprisingly fashionable shell, was already one of the most popular kids on the smart wearables block. And with the addition of the Pebble Time Steel to an already massively backed crowdfunding campaign, this is now the most-funded Kickstarter campaign to date. After getting to know the newest addition to the Pebble smartwatch family, it’s easy to see the appeal. The Steel has a premium feel to it, with an all-metal build available in designer finishes including silver, black and gold. A thin metal border frames a thick black bezel, which encompasses a Gorilla Glass-enforced display. The new design serves to give the illusion of a larger display while remaining simple enough to not scream “Nerd” while you’re wearing it. The underside is curved ever-so-slightly to match the natural curvature of your wrist, and the Italian leather strap adds a more grown-up feel as compared to the Time’s strap options. One of the most appealing aspects of the Time Steel, the accompanying metal bracelet, will not actually arrive with the rest of the smartwatch when they ship to backers in September (Pebble cites an “availability issue”), but will be sent at a later date as soon as manufacturing allows. This shouldn’t matter much to retail customers, who will have to fork over an additional $50 for the added metal band as a separate accessory anyway.
As for functionality, improvements have been made to the color e-paper display, making it far easier to read in direct sunlight. The battery life has also received an upgrade, and with the promise of ten days of use per charge, the Time Steel will outlive a large number of its competitors. The addition of new Timeline software allows the user to peruse notifications, news and reminder in chronological order, while the constant-lit display and multi-platform compatibility add premium smartwatch convenience. At $249 (without the metal strap), this is still a pricy option for a smartwatch. But for die-hard Pebble fans and those who seek a perfect balance of style and functionality, the Pebble Time Steel may be just what your wrist has been missing.
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